Costa Rica Photography Workshop

April 8 - 18, 2011

Donald L. Cohen, MD - DLC Photography

Daily Itinerary

Travel will by on a spacious Air-Conditioned Bus, and we will have our own full-time driver, as well as our own Costa Rican bilingual Naturalist Guide.

Day 1 (Friday, April 8):

Arrive in San Jose, where you will be met at the Airport, and transported to the Hotel Bougainvillea for an overnight stay. The Hotel Bougainvillea is a family owned and operated inn with 80 tastefully decorated rooms set in 12 acres of beautiful gardens. The restaurant offers continental cuisine in a wonderful dining room. Guests can stroll in the gardens, swim in the heated pool, enjoy a sauna or use the tennis courts.

Day 2 (Saturday, April 9):

Morning pick-up from the hotel on our Private Bus, traveling to the Maquenque Eco Lodge, where we'll be spending 2 nights.  Maquenque is a new 60 hectare reserve just north of Boca Tapada, and offers easy access to the newly created 60,000 hectare Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge.  Located inside the Maquenque Eco Preserve in the Northern Territory of San Carlos, it is surrounded by tropical rainforests, and borders the majestic San Carlos River. It has become a unique region for ecology, wildlife observation, birding and adventure tours.  (B,L,D)

On the way we can stop at Braulio Carrillo and Sarapiqui Area for amazing landscapes and bird sightings. Sarapiqui is part of a biological corridor for the endangered Great Green Macaw. It is considered one of the best birding places in CR. Some birds possible to see are: King Vulture, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Barred  hawk, Bat Falcon,  Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Snowy Cotinga, Spectacled Owl, Great Tinamu, Chesnut-colored Woodpecker, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, Amazon Kingfisher, Broad-billed Motmot, White-whiskered Puffbird, Chesnut-backed Antbird, Spotted Antbird,  Long-tailed Tyrant, Stripe-breasted Wren, Shinning Honeycreeper, Golden-hooded Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Passerini's Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Orange-billed Sparrow, Montezuma Oropendola, Chesnut-mandibled  Toucan, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari.

Other animals that may be seen in their natural habitat are: Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider monkeys, Three-toed Sloth and Two-toed Sloth, Collared Peccaries, White-nosed Coati, Agouti and Tamandua Anteater. Among reptiles and amphibians: Blue jeans Dart Frog, Basilisk Lizard, Spectacled Caiman,  Eyelash Viper, Central American Whip-tailed Lizard, Green Anole Lizard, Red-eyed leaf Frog, Boa Constrictor and Green Iguana.

Day 3 (Sunday, April 10):

We'll be taking a half-day boat trip on the San Carlos River and the San Juan River, which forms the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and shooting around the grounds of the lodge for the remainder of the day.  (B,L,D)

Many trails and accessible wetlands offers great chances for: King Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, Osprey, Snail Kite,  Laughing Falcon, Muscovy Duck, Great Curassow, Wood Stork,  Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Agami Heron, Anhinga, Boat-billed Heron, Green Ibis, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Sungrebe, Northern Jacana, Mealy Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Long-billed Hermit, Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-necked Puffbird, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green and rufous Kingfisher, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Chestnut-mandibled & Keel-billed Toucans, Collared Aracari, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Bare-crowned Antbird, Mangrove Swallow, Passerini�s Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Black-cowled Oriole, Montezuma Oropendola.

Other animals that may be seen in their natural habitat are: Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider monkeys, Three-toed and Two-toed Sloths, Long-nosed Bats, Tayra, River otters. Among reptiles and amphibians: Striped-throated Turtles, Black River Turtles, Blue jeans Dart Frogs, Emerald Basilisk Lizards, Spectacled Caiman, Boa Constrictor and Green Iguana.

Day 4 (Monday, April 11):

We'll start the day with a Rainforest hike, and after lunch we'll visit the Danaus Ecological Center, a small biological reserve east of the town of La Fortuna. (B,L,D)

The main trail passes by a small lake where nesting boat-billed herons and caimans reside. Several slow-moving sloths and agoutis live here too. Tiny native red poison dart frogs can be seen in a little forest ranario and many diferent species of butterflies. Other birds possible to see are: Passerini�s Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Summer Tanager, White collared Manakin and Long-billed Hermit.  We'll then continue on to the Arenal Observatory Lodge, where we'll be staying for the next 3 nights.  This hotel - perched high on a ridge only 1.7 miles from Arenal Volcano - Costa Rica's most spectacular active volcano - offers the area's most stunning views of the volcano and Arenal Lake.

Day 5 (Tuesday, April 12):

Spend the morning at the Arenal Hanging Bridges.  The Hanging Bridges are a complex of suspended bridges, platforms and trails through the lush Rain Forest.  These allow the observation of flora and fauna from the ground level to the top of the trees.  This is one of the best methods of learning about the complexity and beauty of the Forests.  We'll probably have some free time in the afternoon to explore the grounds.  (B,L,D)

There are more than 400 birds recorded around the volcano lush rain forests and open areas, including: Olive Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Black and yellow Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Emerald Tanager, White Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle and Laughing Falcon. Among hummingbirds: Green Thorntail, Green Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Purple-crowned Fairy, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Blue-throated Goldentail, Black-crested Coquette. Five species of toucans have been seen: Emeral Toucanet, Chesnut-mandibled  Toucan, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari and Yellow-eared Toucanet. Also found Keel-billed Motmot, Broad-billed Motmot and Rufous Motmot, White-necked Puffbird and White-fronted Nunbird.

Other animals that may be seen in their natural habitat are: Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider monkeys, Three-toed Sloth, Collared Peccaries, Brocket Deer, White-nosed Coati and Tamandua Anteater. Among reptiles and amphibians: Basilisk Lizard, Spectacled Caiman,  Eyelash Viper, Central American Whip-tailed Lizard, Green Anole Lizard and Green Iguana.

Day 6 (Wednesday, April 13):

Before breakfast, we'll shoot the wide variety of birds that visit the feeders behind the Lodge, and then explore the many trails around the grounds of the Lodge.  There are usually several species of hummingbirds, woodpeckers, sometimes Crested Guan, and many others.  Following that we'll go to the Finca Educativa Don Juan a model organic farm.  (B,L,D)

Day 7 (Thursday, April 14):

After breakfast, we'll leave Arenal, heading for the central Pacific coast, and the Hotel Paso de las Lapas, staying there for the following 3 nights.  En route to the Pacific, we'll stop at the Cocora Cloud Forest in San Ramon.  (B,L,D)

A mystic combination of huge tall trees, hundreds of epiphytes and constant mist that cover the canopy almost all year round create a unique habitat for: Emerald Toucanet, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Black Guan, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Gray Headed Chachalacas,  Common Bush-Tanager, Golden hooded Tanager, Silver-throated tanager, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, Black faced Solitaire. Among hummingbirds: Violet Sabrewing, Green-crowned Brilliant, Green Violet Ear, White-bellied Mountain-gem, Coppery-headed Emerald.

Day 8 (Friday, April 15):

One of my favorite activities in Costa Rica, we'll do an early morning boat ride on the Tarcoles River.  Along the banks of the river we will have the opportunity to see one of the largest colonies of crocodiles in Costa Rica and a chance to see over 250 species of birds such as scarlet macaws, tanagers, trogons, orioles, ospreys, cormorants, pelicans and roseate spoonbills.  Later in the day, we'll go to a beach where we usually find a number of the amazingly colorful Scarlet Macaws.  We've timed this trip to get there at low tide, so we can shoot the Macaws in the trees from the beach side, with the setting sun at our backs.  (B,L,D)

Day 9 (Saturday, April 16):

 In the morning, we'll visit the famous Manuel Antonio Park, renowned for Sloths and beautiful beaches!  (B,L,D)

Possible sightings in Manuel Antonio include Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Baird�s Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, White Hawk, King Vulture, Roadside Hawk, Orange-collared Manakin, Chesnut-backed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Black-hooded Antshrike, Fiery-billed Aracari, Rufous Piha, Chesnut-mandibled Toucan.

In mid-late afternoon, we'll have another opportunity to go to the beach in Tarcoles town, hopefully seeing the Scarlet Macaws, as well as Magnificent Frigatebirds, Yellow-naped Parrots and other species.

Day 10 (Sunday, April 17):

We'll do an early morning hike at the Carara National Park, which is one of the prime locations for wildlife in Costa Rica

Possible species here include: Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Wood storks, Jabiru, Black-necked stilts, Northern Jacana, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Harris�s Hawk, Zone-tailed hawks, Crested Caracara, Laughing Falcon, King Vulture, Great Curassow, Scarlet Macaw, Baird�s Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, White Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Orange-collared Manakin, Chesnut-backed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Streak-chested Antpitta, Black-hooded Antshrike, Dot-winged Antwren, White-whiskered Puffbird, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Fiery-billed Aracari, Chesnut-mandibled Toucan, Rufous Piha, Chesnut-mandibled Toucan, Yellow-billed Cotinga, Turquoise Cotinga, Riverside Wren, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Cherrie�s Tanager, White-faced Capuchins, Howlers monkeys, Sloths, Anteaters, Peccaries and Agouties.

After leaving Carara, we'll head back to the Bougainvillea near San Jose, and enjoy our final dinner together.  (B,L,D)

Day 11 (Monday, April 18):

Departure transfer to the International Airport, check-in 3 hours before scheduled flights. (B)

For all inquiries and questions, my contact information is

704-664-6077 - phone

704-973-7778 - fax

To make a reservation, email John Aspinall at:

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